This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy.
Who doesn’t love a little bit of breakfast and lunch pulled together into one gorgeous brunch? Whether you’re making a huge holiday spread or a more intimate meal, we have you covered with 35+ brunch ideas for any gathering.
Featured with this post
Brunch Ideas for Any Occasion
When planning a special brunch, the options are endless, so give a little thought into what kind of spread you’d like to have. There’s quite literally something for everyone. A crepe station with sweet and savory toppings? Or a pan of gooey homemade cinnamon rolls? How about a make-ahead breakfast casserole to keep things simple? Or a few signature brunch cocktails?
When planning out your brunch menu, consider your guests and their dietary needs, along with what seasonal ingredients that you can incorporate into your meal. A Mother’s Day or Easter brunch with lots of fresh produce and lighter faire and may look different than a Christmas brunch with heavier, richer dishes. How much time do you have? Can you make items ahead of time? And what does your budget look like? We have gathered our favorite, time honored recipes into this one post to make planning your next brunch a piece of cake!
What is a brunch?
Simply put, a “Brunch” is a meal combining breakfast and lunch. It is typically served between the hours of 10:00 am-2:00pm. Brunch just might be one of our favorite meals. Because it technically spans breakfast AND lunch, it’s a meal that can be lingered over for hours, while guests relax with good company, beautiful dishes and refreshing drinks. Brunch is a time where you can indulge in sweet treats while also devouring healthier options.
A brunch spread is ideal when hosting a large group, like for an engagement party, baby shower or a special birthday. But it’s also easy to pare down when you’re looking to make an ordinary weekend a little more special. A simple, weekend brunch at home can be just the thing to refresh your most treasured relationships. Add a bit of sweet indulgences with savory dishes, and truly anything goes!
What do you put on a brunch buffet?
Brunch is one of our favorite ways to entertain large crowds because there’s something for everyone! You can have one classic dish, like an omelet station, with lots of sides and drinks to complement. Or serve several breakfast casseroles, a spinach frittata, pancakes with maple syrup, a variety of breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit, blueberry muffins, or banana bread to give guests more options. Turn it into a potluck party, and ask your guests to each bring their favorite recipes. When rolling out a beautiful brunch buffet table, consider the time of year. Springtime just begs for a few fresh bouquets of flowers in the center of the table; a winter brunch could be decorated with candles, pine cones or poinsettia plants. Also, allow for space for plates, glasses, utensils and napkins on one end.
Brunch casseroles are the perfect place to start when planning out your menu. They can be made ahead of time and frozen so you can just pop them in the oven and warm them up in time for the meal. They’re easy to serve, and guests love them! Typical breakfast bakes include timeless classics like ham, eggs, onions, tomato and mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Whether you’re in the mood for something savory or something sweet, here are some of our favorite brunch casseroles.
- Easy Breakfast Casserole – This casserole is ideal for big families or groups. One casserole serves 12-15 people.
- CrockPot Breakfast Casserole – This bakes low and slow overnight. In the morning breakfast is ready!
- California Breakfast Casserole – Everything you love about a California omelet in casserole form.
- Caramel Apple French Toast Casserole – Prepare the night before then bake in the oven in the morning.
- Baked French Toast with Strawberries and Cream – Baked up with a cream cheese filling, then topped with berries and cream.
Sweet Brunch Ideas
Brunch just isn’t complete without a little something sweet! Simple yogurt parfaits are a yummy option along with some decadent baked treats. But instead of the usual cinnamon rolls, brunch is a great time to opt for something a little more unique. Consider some of these sinfully sweet recipes for your next meal and wow your guests with delicious flavors and presentation.
- Peach Cinnamon Rolls – A great way to enjoy when peaches are in season for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.
- Homemade Cinnamon Rolls – Cinnamon rolls can be intimidating, but our simple instructions make it so easy.
- Lemon Zucchini Bread – Our Lemon Zucchini Bread is smooth, moist, and lemony!
- Gluten Free Zucchini Bread – A yummy bread for guests with gluten allergies. Trust me they will thank you!
- Strawberry Crepes – These sweet and tart crepes are a favorite in our family.
- Chocolate Waffles – A rich chocolatey twist on regular waffles, great with caramel or pecan syrup.
- Hawaiian French Toast – This copycat from Hawaii that will make you want to book your next trip.
- Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake – Sweet bursts of blueberries in every tasty bite.
- Banana Bread – A no fail classic that is perfect for over ripe bananas.
- Chocolate Banana Bread – Bread that has the yummy flavors of a chocolate covered banana.
Savory Brunch Ideas
Take traditional breakfast foods like eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns and elevate them with these super simple, yet scrumptious savory brunch recipes. Serve sweet potatoes instead of regular breakfast potatoes. Sheet pan veggies with carrots, onions, asparagus, and peppers are a delicious side and look pretty on the buffet table. Many of these savory dishes can be made ahead of time so you can enjoy dining with your guests.
- Baked Omelet Roll Ups – The easiest, foolproof omelette you will ever make. Perfect breakfast for the family.
- Easy Breakfast Egg Muffins – Make a bunch, freeze, and have them on hand for busy mornings.
- Breakfast Croissant Sandwiches – Flaky, crispy croissants are piled with fluffy egg, gooey cheese and savory ham.
- Easy Monte Cristo Sandwiches – Enjoy the sweet, savory flavors of a Monte Cristo with less work.
- Christmas Breakfast Quiche – Filled with sausage, cranberries, and cheese. A perfect Christmas brunch idea.
- Breakfast Hand Pies – Eggs, green chiles, tomato, ham, and cheese get wrapped up in buttery, flaky puff pastry.
- Biscuits and Gravy – Always a hit for brunch!
Balance out the heavier dishes with platters of beautiful fruit! Not only do these recipes taste delicious, they add gorgeous color to your buffet table. Make sure to use fruits that are in season – melons and berries in the summertime, pomegranates and pineapple in the later months. These fruit recipes look so pretty and are easy to prepare.
- Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips – A fresh and sweet salsa served with crispy cinnamon chips.
- Cream Cheese Fruit dip with a Fruit Tray – This dip has only 4 ingredients and takes just minutes to whip together.
- Fruit Kabobs – All your favorite fruits served on a skewer.
- Easy Fruit Salad – A simple, refreshing side dish that complements just about any meal.
- Fruit Pizza – Made with a sugar cookie crust, cream cheese, and fresh fruit.
Drinks for a Brunch
When hosting a larger gathering, you might want to have a separate station or table designated for drinks. Make your serving area easy to access with pre-poured glasses of punch, mocktails or orange juice. You can also have beverage dispensers handy so guests can serve themselves. For a smaller group, a glass pitcher of your beverage on the table will be enough.
- Smoothies – We have several different delicious smoothies, make your favorite flavor or try them all.
- Orange Julius -This copycat drink tastes just like the one you used to get in the mall.
- Sparkling Punch – A fizzy, fruity drink that is perfect for summer.
- Hot Chocolate Bar – Hot chocolate with a full bar of creams and toppings.
- Mojito Mocktails – These sparkling non-alcoholic drinks are perfectly refreshing.
- Tropical Slush – Made with pineapple, coconut, and lime. The perfect thirst-quencher for a hot summer day.
- Holiday Punch – Cranberries, raspberries, lime, and mint flavors create a festive drink your guests will love.
- Wassail – Filled with citrus flavors and hints of cinnamon and clove.
Brunch Desserts Ideas
If your brunch buffet is heavy on the sweet dishes, you may not need a designated dessert. to finish off the meal. However, it’s fun to offer your guests a little something sweet, especially if more of your recipes have been on the savory side. Toward the end of the meal, treat your guests to a tray of chocolate covered strawberries, fresh lemon bars or, for a fall spread, a slice of rich carrot cake. You can always offer something little to your guests as they leave: a bowl of homemade butter mints by the door, a beautifully decorated sugar cookie in a cellophane bag to hand each guest.
- Cream Cheese Butter Mints – A perfectly sweet and refreshing treat to enjoy after a meal.
- Swig Sugar Cookies – Rich, buttery cookies topped with flavored, creamy frostings.
- Lemon Bars – A tart, yummy dessert with a tangy lemon layer, cookie crust and dusting of powdered sugar.
- Chocolate Dipped Strawberries – There is nothing like a strawberry dipped in rich chocolate.
- Texas Sheet Cake – A thin, chocolatey cake that can feed a crowd.
- Pumpkin Sheet Cake – This thin pumpkin cake is topped with a tasty cream cheese frosting.
- Easy Chocolate Truffles – These little balls of heaven are easy to make and taste incredible.
READ NEXT: 33+ Super Easy Breakfast Ideas
Tips for Hosting a Brunch
Are you planning a brunch in the future? Here are some tips to get you started:
Ask the Right Questions
When planning a brunch, there are some very important questions you need to ask yourself:
- Is this going to be a formal brunch or an informal brunch?
- Will guests be using fancy China sets or glass plates, or will paper plates suffice?
- Will your guests be served at a table or will the brunch be buffet-style?
- Is the brunch going to be held inside or outside? What special accommodations will need to be made if it is served outside?
- Are you aware of any possible allergies of any of your guests?
Plan your menu as far in advance as possible and make a game plan. Make a list of everything you need and shop a day or two ahead of time. Prepare pastries, doughs, casseroles, fruit platters, and anything else you possibly can the day before. Also, set everything out (tablecloths, napkins, plates, forks, decorations, etc…) the night before.
Keep it EASY
Especially if you are hosting for a larger group, keep it easy! Choose recipes that are quick and easy to make or that can easily be made ahead of time. I also prefer serving foods that are already individually portioned so guests can grab what they need quickly. Egg muffins and breakfast parfaits are perfect examples of this. Lastly, there is nothing wrong with buying pre-made brunch foods either (we love the little frozen quiche cups from Costco that you can just heat and serve)!
Between 10:00AM – 2:00PM.
Brunch is served earlier than a typical lunch and often has breakfast items as well as lunch items. It is served between breakfast and lunch hours and meant to replace both meals.
Quiche, egg casserole, eggs Benedict, and French toast are some of the most popular brunch dishes.
Sample Brunch Menu (with Recipes)
Easy Brunch Menu
- 1 Crepe Maker (optional)
- 1 Crock Pot (Slow Cooker)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
CrockPot Breakfast Casserole
- 12-15 breakfast sausage links
- 12 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2 pounds potatoes O'Brien (or frozen hash brown cubes)
- 1 tomato (diced)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Fruit Platter (with Fruit Dip)
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 7 ounces marshmallow creme
- 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 8 cups fresh fruit (pineapple, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, etc…)
Orange Julius Smoothie
- 6 ounces orange juice concentrate
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- about 10-11 ice cubes (or as needed for consistency)
For the Crepes:
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate 1-2 hours.
- Heat non-stick skillet or non-stick crepe pan over medium-high heat and brush with butter or spray with cooking spray. Pour or ladle about ¼ cup of the batter into the pan, tilting to coat the surface of the pan with the batter.
- Cook 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom of the crepe lifts easily off the bottom of the pan, then flip the crepe and cook on the other side until golden brown and edges are slightly crispy.
- Remove crepe from pan and continue to cook the rest of the crepes until the batter is gone (about 10-12 crepes).
For the CrockPot Breakfast Casserole:
- Brown sausage links in a large skillet until cooked through and cut into pieces. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add salt and pepper.
- Spray crockpot with cooking spray and layer the cut up sausage, potatoes o'brien, tomato, and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Stir everything together.
- Cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours. The oval crock pots like the one shown may cook faster than the typical round crock pots. Try to aim for the 6 hour mark if using one like this.
Fresh Fruit and Fruit Dip
- Beat cream cheese with a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill 1 hour in the refrigerator or until ready to use.
- Serve with fresh fruit.
Orange Julius Smoothie
- Add all ingredients into a high-powdered blender and blend on "smoothie" setting until smooth. Add more ice cubes if needed for thicker consistency.
Did you try this recipe?
Share It on Instagram!
Mention @favoritefamilyrecipes or tag #favoritefamilyrecipes!
Drooling as I look at these recipes! I love the casseroles in particular, because they can be made ahead and make hectic mornings so much easier.
I want to try them all!! Love brunch!! These are the perfect party foods!
What an amazing collection! I will make so many of these!